Across the UK, there has been increasing interest in electric vehicle (EV) charging tariffs in a bid to attract new customers.
Notably British Gas, Bulb, EDF Energy, Octopus Energy, OVO Energy and ScottishPower have all adjusted the pricing of its EV networks and introduced new tariffs to attract customers.
Without question, the ongoing energy crisis has had a major impact on the UK EV sector, primarily associated with the costs of EV charging networks. A primary issue is the coupling of electricity wholesale prices with gas – something that prompted the RAC and EV campaign group FairCharge to call on the UK government to solve.
Wholesale electricity prices are currently being set by the volatile gas market. This has caused various issues across the UK in the past year including a cost-of-living crisis and throwing many vulnerable households and commercial businesses into disarray.
The result of this has seen soaring energy bills in the UK. This has had a major impact on EV charging networks, with many having to continuously raise their rates due to high gas prices – something that needs rectifying.
To find out more about current EV charging tariffs, Current± spoke with several energy companies to learn more about exclusive charging tariffs and current network prices.
Bulb’s EV charging tariff is currently in “beta” meaning the firm is still testing it and it’s only available to people that have been Bulb members for two months. The tariff benefits anyone that shifts a large portion of their electricity usage to off-peak times.
Bulb’s website states: “On our standard tariff, the price is the same no matter when you use electricity. But on the EV Tariff there are two different rates for electricity: off-peak, which is cheaper, and standard, which is more expensive.
“The off-peak tariff schedules your EV to be charged from between 2am and 6am. The pricing is localised but customers in London pay the lowest off-peak rates at 4.65p per kWh while customers in Yorkshire pay the lowest peak rates at 23.55p per kWh.”
Just last month British Gas released its “new and improved” Hive EV charger. Dubbed a smart charger, the Hive charger allows customers to charge their car when prices are at their lowest and when the most renewable energy is available on the grid, with the integrated automated charging feature able to support the balancing of the grid.
Charging on the British Gas network would cost, on average, around £7.50, using typical EV-friendly electric rates of 15p per kWh off-peak and 40.2p peak. The electric driver tariff works in conjunction with the Hive app to allow customers to receive cheaper electricity from 12am to 5am. For this to work, customers are required to have a British Gas smart meter installed.
“Our engineers have installed over 8,000 electric car charging points. We believe that having home charging will ensure we create a robust network enabling everyone to benefit from an electric future,” says Kim Royds, director of EVs at British Gas.
“Typically, the cost for a full charge on an average electric estate car with a home charger is £4.70 (off-peak). Our latest Hive Electric Vehicle charger allows customers to charge during off-peak hours. In our trials, EV customers have saved around 20% from their electricity bills, whilst helping to balance demand on the grid.”
EDF Energy’s “GoElectric tariff” is backed with 100% zero carbon renewable energy. The cheapest rate for those currently on the tariff stands at 4.5p/kWh.
“Due to the volatility in the market last year, we temporarily withdrew our GoElectric tariff range from sale. The cheapest rate for those already on the tariff is 4.5p/kWh,” says a spokesperson from EDF Energy.
“We are, however still offering smart meters to our customers, and once installed and commissioned we’re still able to switch the customer to an Economy 7 SVT tariff remotely. This tariff is covered by the government’s Energy Price Guarantee and may benefit an electric vehicle owner by giving access to off-peak charging for 7 hours each evening.
“Current national average prices for SVT Economy 7 meters are Elec Day p/kwh: 46.97 and Elec Night p/kwh: 11.49. This is based on a customer paying by Direct Debit and excludes VAT. We’re aiming to re-introduce our GoElectric tariff shortly.”
Octopus Energy currently has two EV specific tariffs dubbed “Octopus Go” and “Intelligent Octopus”.
Octopus Go is the company’s original EV tariff which launched in 2018. This smart tariff provides clean electricity for 12p/kWh between 00:30 – 04:30 every night for new customers. This allows drivers to charge their EVs for around 26% of what it would cost to fill up a petrol car, resulting in fuel costs of roughly 4p per mile.
Intelligent Octopus, on the other hand, is the UK’s first 100% flexible charging tariff, Octopus said. It extends the low cost charging period to six hours (when it is best for the grid) at the rate of 10p/kWh.
“EV specific tariffs powered by renewable energy play a key role in the transition to cleaner, cheaper driving, as well as a better balanced grid, so we will continue to do all we can to accelerate their rollout,” says a spokesperson from Octopus Energy.
Octopus Energy also referenced the impact that smart EV tariffs can have on the energy grid.
“In terms of the impact to the grid, Carbon Trust estimates that a fully flexible grid has the potential to deliver material net savings of up to £16.7 billion per year – money that will be passed back to households in the form of lower bills. Smart tariffs like Intelligent Octopus are going to be vital to this transition,” says the spokesperson.
OVO Energy has been supporting its customers via the introduction of new EV charging tariffs. The company’s new “Charge Anytime” tariff offers savings of up to £350 a year for OVO’s EV customers.
Eligible customers will be able to access a charging rate of 10p per kWh (equating to 3p a mile), which is “three times cheaper than the national average (34p per kWh)” OVO said.
“By splitting customers’ home energy and EV energy usage, tariff users can save 71% on charging costs. Additionally, Charge Anytime is seven times cheaper than public charge points. The cost savings of the free add-on will appear as a credit against energy bills,” says Mat Moakes, chief commercial officer at OVO.
Moakes also believes it is important to ensure that awareness grows for these tariffs in a bid to incentivise further drivers to convert to EVs.
“OVO’s research shows 68% of UK adults who drive are hesitant to switch to an EV due to perceived high charging costs. A further 52% didn’t know that electric vehicles are cheaper to run than petrol and diesel alternatives. It’s essential that, as an industry, we keep doing more to combat these anxieties and incentivise the switch to EVs,” Moakes says.
“If we are to fulfil our renewable and electric future, decarbonising heat and transport, keeping energy costs low and the grid stable, we need to find smart charging solutions capable of incentivising and integrating growing numbers of electric vehicles onto the network without compromising energy security.”
ScottishPower has its own EV charging tariff dubbed SmartPower EV. This tariff utilises peak and off-peak hours to help customers charge their vehicles at a lower rate during the night (12am and 5am). The energy used to charge the EVs are 100% renewable.
According to uswitch, “the cost of the SmartPower EV Tariff will vary depending on where you live because different regions are subject to different prices per unit of electricity and daily standing charges. To find the estimated cost of the tariff for your area, you’ll need to enter your details into the ScottishPower website for a quote.”